Originally a means for using up leftover roasted meat, Shepherd’s Pie is traditionally made with lamb or mutton but has evolved in the United States to a dish made primarily with beef. Many of the recipes call for adding cheese, such as Cheddar, to the mashed potatoes, which is what gave me the idea to use a Bill-friendly option: goat cheese. Hence the name, Shepherd’s and Goatherd’s Pie.
You could vary this recipe in a number of ways: Use ground beef instead of lamb; use cow’s cheese instead of goat cheese; add tomato paste to the gravy for a richer flavor; brush the mashed potatoes with a beaten egg for a more golden-brown topping. No matter what, it’s a yummy, hearty, easy one-dish meal–great for winter time in the North!
Shepherd’s and Goatherd’s Pie
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for greasing casserole dish and brushing on potatoes
4 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
1 cup beef or lamb stock
½ cup frozen peas
4 ounces goat cheese, softened
2 tablespoons rice milk
Optional: Splash of dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, or dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
Optional: 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Optional: Grated Pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large heavy skillet, sauté carrots and onions in one tablespoon of olive oil until just tender, about 5 minutes.
Add thyme and stir to blend. Remove vegetable mixture from pan.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Drain.
Put ground lamb in pan and season with salt and pepper.
Brown until meat is crispy. Drain fat. Remove meat from pan.
Add wine and deglaze pan by stirring bits of food from pan with liquid. (If not using wine, use water or stock for deglazing.)
Return meat to pan and add flour. Stir until blended. Add Worcestershire sauce and stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce liquid slightly.
Add carrot-onion mixture and peas to meat and stir to blend.
Drain cooked potatoes; add remaining olive oil and rice milk to pot and mash.
Add goat cheese, continuing to mash mixture until cheese and potatoes are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Grease a 9×9-inch casserole dish with olive oil. Put meat-vegetable mixture in bottom of dish. Spoon mashed potatoes on top of meat, spreading evenly until all the meat is covered. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with Pecorino cheese, if desired.
Bake pie 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are golden.
Serves 6 to 8.
Enjoy with a side of bread, such as Sami’s Bakery Millet & Flax Bread, which is wheat-free!